• The Synthesis of Jazz and Classical styles in Three Piano Works of Nikolai Kapustin

      Abramovic, Charles; Abramovic, Charles; Wedeen, Harvey D.; Folio, Cynthia; Oatts, Richard (Temple University. Libraries, 2014)
      The music of the Russian-Ukrainian composer Nikolai Kapustin is a fascinating synthesis of jazz and classical idioms. Kapustin has explored many existing traditional classical forms in conjunction with jazz. Among his works are: 20 piano sonatas, Suite in the Old Style, Op.28, preludes, etudes, variations, and six piano concerti. The most significant work in this regard is a cycle of 24 Preludes and Fugues, Op. 82, which was completed in 1997. He has also written numerous works for different instrumental ensembles and for orchestra. Well-known artists, such as Steven Osborn and Marc-Andre Hamelin have made a great contribution by recording Kapustin's music with Hyperion, one of the major recording companies. Being a brilliant pianist himself, Nikolai Kapustin has also released numerous recordings of his own music. Nikolai Kapustin was born in 1937 in Ukraine. He started his musical career as a classical pianist. In 1961 he graduated from the Moscow Conservatory, studying with the legendary pedagogue, Professor of Moscow Conservatory Alexander Goldenweiser, one of the greatest founders of the Russian piano school. During his student years (1956 -1961) Kapustin gained popularity as an actively performing jazz pianist. After graduating from the Moscow conservatory, Kapustin joined the famous Oleg Lundstrem Jazz orchestra, which by that time was considered a leading jazz ensemble of Soviet Russia. In the beginning of the 1980's Kapustin focused entirely on composition, when his original style had flourished. The jazz language of Kapustin is a kaleidoscope of styles of the greatest twentieth century jazz composers. Almost every article describing his jazz style mentions the influences of great jazz musicians: Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Erroll Garner, and George Gershwin. In my study I am going to take a closer look at how strong those influences are, as well as how Kapustin internalized many different jazz styles and created his own style. Kapustin's style bears qualities that belong to the Soviet jazz of 1950s and 1960s. In the second chapter detailed information will be presented about jazz tradition in Russia. This monograph concentrates on Variations, Op.41 and two Concert Etudes (# 3 and # 4) from Eight Concert Etudes, Op 40, composed in 1984. The Variations, Op.41 demonstrate the richness of Kapustin's style and his dazzling talent. These variations are based on a short Russian-Lithuanian folk theme or motive. The same motive is found in the opening of Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." Kapustin has transformed an original meditative theme into swing.The analysis of Variation, Op.41 will be followed by the analysis of two etudes (No. 3 & 4) from Eight Concert Etudes, Op.40. The Eight Concert Etudes Op.40 are not only pieces of remarkable technical difficulty, but also pieces of unique beauty and invention with romantic flair. The influence of Russian composers can be seen, including that of Rachmaninoff, Scriabin and Prokofiev. My research on these works will provide a thorough representation of Kapustin as a composer and a pianist; the overview of Nikolai Kapustin's piano works; his contribution to the piano repertoire, and composer's unique place in music history. The monograph will also include comparison of two recordings by Nikolai Kapustin and Marc-Andre Hamelin along with pedagogical recommendations.